So I’ve just finished books two and three of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy (titled The Restaurant at the End of the Universe and Life, the Universe, and Everything), and thought I’d share a few of life’s lessons that Douglas Adams taught me.
Before I impart my hard-earned knowledge onto you ducklings, I want to make sure that you had all read my commentary on the first book in the series? Yes? Excellent.
Firstly, the universe has no end. Don’t be confused by the Restaurant at the End of the Universe – it actually uses time-travel hydraulics to continuously serve expensive dinner at the very moment when the universe implodes. I hear it’s a spectacular show.
Following on from this, it is only natural that you start feeling a little existential angst when you think of the vastness of the universe in comparison to your own meagre existence. Don’t fret. This is perfectly normal. Take a deep breath, and consider the Oglaroonians, of planet Oglaroon, who all live in one nut tree, despite an entire planet full of hospitable forests at their disposal. It is decreed that any other trees are hallucinations and, should an Oglaroonian persist in such talk, s/he is presumably put to death by being kicked off the tree.
Now that you are feeling more or less normal, think of your chosen career. It’s all well and good if you are an academic or a scientist or a tradesperson because, (congratulations!) you are a useful member of society. Lawyers, hairdressers, marketing managers and the like are not. Should the imminent doom of your planet be announced, along with a plan for sequestering the population into three spaceships to colonise Somewhere Else, then do not get on your spaceship if it’s the first one set for departure. Run and hide instead. There is no imminent doom; you, along with the rest of the pointless third of the population, are simply being tricked off the planet.
On to more practical matters. I’m sure you had noticed by now, at least abstractedly, that all humans suffer from a blind spot, or, if you will, selective vision. If you are a scientist, you can turn this propensity into state-of-the-art invisibility technology. Although true invisibility is nigh on impossible, one can hide pretty much anything in a Someone Else’s Problem field.
To be truly successful at life, you need to change your negative thinking patterns. You may believe that it is impossible for humans to fly unaided. The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy disagrees: “There is a knack to flying. The knack lies in learning how to throw yourself at the ground and miss.” I give you a moment to contemplate how this bit of information has changed your outlook on life forever.
Finally, stop blaming the ruler of the universe for your shortcomings. He has as little clue as you do about why shit happens, and any conversations will result in a strong urge to punch him. If you are unconvinced, think of an extremely annoying and indecisive philosophical essay, with an excess of qualifiers and footnotes. Yep, like that.
… I have faith you guys can figure out the rest.